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Food and Nutrition

Frequently Asked Questions

Canada's
Food
Guide

Questions and Answers for Educators

Q: Is a poster version of Canada's Food Guide available to order?

At this time, Health Canada has not developed a poster-sized version of Canada's Food Guide. The following package of resources was released with the launch of Canada's Food Guide: a consumer print resource, a print resource for educators and communicators and web-based resources including an interactive tool (My Food Guide). Print resources are available in English and French and can be ordered free of charge from Health Canada Publications

Q: Is Canada's Food Guide available in other languages in addition to English and French?

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide is now available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Farsi (Persian), Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil and Urdu. For more information visit www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide

Q: Should the two to three additional servings per day recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women come from a specific food group, such as Milk and Alternatives?

The additional two to three Food Guide Servings are added to the pattern to meet the need for more calories during pregnancy and breastfeeding. A woman can chose these additional servings, according to her preferences, from any of the food groups. For further explanation and examples refer to the following section on Additional Calories.

Q: What references were used in the development of the eating pattern in Canada's Food Guide?

The eating pattern (amount and type of food) recommended in Canada's Food Guide was carefully developed to meet nutrient needs and contribute to reduced risk of chronic disease development. The Dietary Reference Intakes nutrient standards and assessment methods were used in the development of the eating pattern. A review of two major reports (2004 WHO/FAO Joint Report on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report) summarizing the evidence on the relationships between select foods and their potential effect on health and prevention of chronic disease also supported the development of the recommendations. Additional information on the revision process can be found in the "Background on the Food Guide" section.

Q: Why does "My Food Guide" only allow me to choose a maximum of six examples from each food group? Why can't I choose the same food example, such as a slice of bread, more than once in "My Food Guide"?

"My Food Guide" is a tool that helps people to personalize Food Guide information based on their age, sex, food preferences and activity choices. It illustrates examples of food that a person would often consume. The same examples of food cannot be chosen twice because the intention is to provide different examples of the variety of foods within each food group. It is not meant to be a meal plan.

"My Food Guide" is a tool is intended to:

  • Provide people with the recommended number of Food Guide Servings for their age and sex;
  • Identify the types of foods recommended in Canada's Food Guide (for example: provide direction on what a dark green and an orange vegetables are);
  • Provide examples of the amount of food that makes up one Food Guide Serving;
  • Illustrate the variety of foods available from the four food groups; and
  • Promote physical activity recommendations from Canada's Physical Activity Guide. The "My Food Guide" one-page print-out complements the information in the 6-page resource Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.

Q: Is there a cost to order Canada's Food Guide or related resources?

Health Canada publishes Canada's Food Guide and the resource for educators and communicators free of charge. You will find a brief description of these resources on our Web site.

Q: How do I obtain copyright permission to use Canada's Food Guide?

Non-commercial Reproduction

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide may be reproduced for non-commercial use as is, and in its entirety without further permission. The front cover of Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide may be reproduced as is, without further permission. The front cover of and Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide: A Resource for Educators and Communicators may also be reproduced as is, without further permission.

We ask that:

  1. Users exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced;
  2. Health Canada be identified as the source; and
  3. The reproduction is not represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, or as having been made, in affiliation with or with the endorsement of Health Canada.

Adaptations or Commercial Reproduction

Adaptations, modifications, translations and/or commercial use of Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide and Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide: A Resource for Educators and Communicators are strictly prohibited, without prior permission.

To obtain copyright permission, please complete our online Application for Copyright Clearance on Health Canada Works or contact:

Publishing & Copyright Officer
Creative Services
Corporate and Internal Communications
PACCB
Health Canada
200 Eglantine Driveway
Room B430
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9
Telephone: (613) 816-6053
Facsimile: (613) 948-8092
E-Mail: Pubsadmin@hc-sc.gc.ca

For more information on Next link will take you to another Web site Crown Copyright

For more information on the Use of Food Guide Content in Labelling and Advertising

Q: What Canada's Food Guide resources do you have to help me teach healthy eating to students?

Health Canada publishes a resource related to Canada's Food Guide, free of charge, geared towards educators and communicators. You will find a brief description of this resource on Canada's Food Guide Web site.
For information on other nutrition education materials and programs, contact your local public health department or community health centre through the blue pages of your telephone book.

Q: What is a standard serving size, based on Canada's Food Guide?

The amount of food you need every day depends on your age, body size, activity level, whether you are male or female and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. That's why Canada's Food Guide gives age and sex specific numbers for each food group. Visit Canada's Food Guide online to find out how many servings you need from each of the four food groups every day.  

Canada's Food Guide also explains what is equal to one Food Guide serving for different foods. For example, in Grain Products, one slice of bread equals one Food Guide serving, while one bagel, pita or bun equals two Food Guide servings. The Food Guide uses both metric and household measures. That's because you usually buy or prepare foods using either of these measures.
For more examples of Food Guide servings for each of the four food groups, visit Canada's Food Guide Web site.

Q: Can I use Canada's Food Guide if I am following a vegetarian diet?

Canada's Food Guide is suitable for vegetarians. To ensure adequate nutrient intake, vegetarians can choose either milk or fortified soy beverages as part of the Milk and Alternatives food group; and a variety of meat alternatives such as beans, lentils, eggs, tofu, soy-based meat substitutes, nuts, nut butters and seeds from the Meat and Alternatives food group.

Q: What is the history of Canada's Food Guide?

History of Canada's Food Guide

Q: Where can I find information about healthy weights?

Information about weight and health can be found in the Question and Answer (Q & A) for the public document under the Canadian guidelines for weight classification section.

Q: Where can I find information about food safety?

The Food Safety section of the Web site contains research-based information on food safety.

Q: What recommendations do you have for people on special diets (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, food allergies)?

Recommendations for dietary intake are highly individualistic depending on factors such as current medical status and activity level. It is best that you consult a health professional such as your family physician, community health nurse or a Registered Dietitian who can assess your situation and make recommendations. For specific dietary guidance, a Registered Dietitian can perform a nutritional assessment and develop a meal plan unique for you.

Contact your local public health department or community health centre for more information and resources and to find out how to access the services of a Registered Dietitian in your community. Their phone numbers are in the blue pages of your telephone book. Also, visit the Next link will take you to another Web site Dietitians of Canada Web site or call (416) 596-0857.

Q: Where would I find information about the caloric and nutrient (eg. vitamins, fat) value of food?

Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods, published by Health Canada, can help you find values for nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This publication lists 19 nutrients in 975 foods marketed in Canada.

or contact:
Canadian Government Publishing
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Ottawa ON K1A 0S5
Telephone: (819) 956 - 4800
Fax: (819) 994 -1498
Orders only: 1 - 800 - 635 - 7943
Next link will take you to another Web site Government of Canada Publications

If you require more comprehensive information about the composition of Canada's food supply, visit the Canadian Nutrient File (CNF) online.

CNF is a computerized, bilingual food composition database containing average values for nutrients in foods available in Canada.

Q: Can you provide references to help me with my research paper on nutrition?

We welcome and encourage the use of Health Canada resources and content from our Web site for research purposes, as long as Health Canada is acknowledged as the source. However, we are unable to provide you with specific references or research material. Contact your local public or university library for reliable nutrition references.

Q: How do I find a Registered Dietitian or learn about careers in the field of nutrition?

Contact your local public health department or community health centre, through the blue pages of your telephone book to find out how to access a Registered Dietitian in your community. To learn more about becoming a dietitian contact the Dietitians of Canada at (416) 596-0857 or online. The Next link will take you to another Web site Dietitians of Canada Web site also offers a "Find a Dietitian in Your Area" service.

Questions and Answers for Educators

Additional Information
For further information, please contact us at: nutrition@hc-sc.gc.ca.